Monday, April 11, 2016

MayisInfo Int'l agencies news (May 2016)

Israel has launched dozens of strikes in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on April 11, acknowledging for the first time such attacks against suspected arms transfers to Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas.

Though formally neutral on Syria's civil war, Israel has frequently pledged to prevent shipments of advanced weaponry to the Iranian-backed group, while stopping short of confirming reports of specific air operations......Israel has carried out dozens of strikes in Syria, says Netanyahu


  1. Iraq PM orders arrest of protesters...

    Earlier this week, hundreds of thousands of people marched towards the Green Zone, the most secure part of Baghdad that houses embassies and government buildings, to protest against the political deadlock.

    Iraqi President Fuad Masum called on politicians to enact the cabinet reshuffle.

    1. Iraqi anti-government protesters tore down walls and poured into the capital's heavily-fortified Green Zone on Saturday, where they stormed parliament in a major escalation of a monthslong political crisis...

      Supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have been holding demonstrations and sit-ins for months to demand an overhaul of Iraq's corrupt and ineffective political system, but Saturday was the first time they broke into the Green Zone, home to most government ministries and foreign embassies.

      Iraqi security forces fired tear gas at one entrance of the zone but appeared to be largely standing down as protesters marched through the area, chanting and waving Iraqi flags. Hundreds were still pouring into the Green Zone as night fell....AP

  2. Turquie: attentat à Gaziantep et attaque dans le sud-est, 4 morts ...

    Trois soldats ont été tués et 14 autres blessés ce dimanche lors d'une attaque dans le sud-est à majorité kurde de la Turquie, attribuée au Parti des Travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK), a annoncé l'armée turque.

    L'attaque s'est produite dans le district de Nusaybin, dans la province de Mardin, où l'armée mène une opération militaire contre le PKK. Selon l'agence de presse Dogan, les rebelles kurdes turcs ont tiré des roquettes sur une unité de démineurs de l'armé

  3. Taiwan DPP Condemns Latest Deportation of Taiwanese to China ...

    Taiwan's ruling party on Saturday strongly condemned the deportation of 32 Taiwanese to China from Malaysia on suspicion of telecommunications fraud, and the outgoing cabinet said Malaysia had acted "under pressure" from Beijing.

    The case comes weeks after 45 Taiwanese in Kenya, in another alleged telecom fraud case, were forcibly deported to China, an incident which also drew protests from Taiwan.

    Taiwan's cabinet said in a statement it had tried in vain to have the 32 suspected Taiwanese sent back to the island, but "under pressure from China", Malaysia deported the individuals to China on Saturday, without elaborating.....

  4. The German right-wing party Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) has adopted an explicitly anti-Islam policy...

    Delegates at a party conference adopted a ban on minarets, the call to prayer and the full-face veil, saying Islam was "not part of Germany".

    A delegate who called for more local dialogue with Muslim groups was booed.

    The start of the conference in Stuttgart on Saturday was disrupted by clashes and hundreds of left-wing protesters were detained.

    Meanwhile, hackers published the addresses of more than 2,000 AfD members on a left-wing website....BBC

  5. The Yemeni government suspended direct peace talks to end the country's civil war on Sunday after the Houthi movement and its armed allies seized a military base north of the capital Sana'a, two members of the official delegation to the talks said...

    The Houthi assault killed several of the soldiers defending the Umaliqa base. Unlike most of Yemen's soldiers, those at Umaliqa had refused to take sides in the war between the Iran-allied Houthis and the Saudi-backed government.

    The Houthis had tolerated this neutrality until they launched a surprise push into the facility in Amran province and seized its large cache of weapons at dawn, local officials said.

    "We have suspended the sessions indefinitely to protest these military actions and continued violations of the truce," one member of the government delegation to the Yemen peace talks in Kuwait told Reuters.....REUTERS

  6. Ten Indonesian sailors abducted by Abu Sayyaf terrorist militants were freed in the southern Philippines on Sunday after five weeks in captivity, Philippine police said...

    Unknown men dropped off the 10 tugboat crewmen at the home of provincial governor Abdusakur Tan Jnr on the remote island of Jolo during a heavy midday downpour, Jolo police chief Junpikar Sitin told AFP by telephone.

    "The report (of their release) is confirmed. They were there. I saw them," Superintendent Sitin added.

    The condition of the former captives was not immediately known, though Sitin said the group ate lunch at the governor's home.

    They were abducted on March 26 by gunmen described by Philippine authorities as members of the Abu Sayyaf, a small group of militants based on Jolo and nearby Basilan island which is accused of kidnappings and deadly bombings.

  7. The committee organizing a sit-in inside Baghdad's Green Zone called on protesters to leave the heavily fortified government district on Sunday, 24 hours after they overran security barriers and stormed into parliament...

    A spokeswoman speaking from a square outside the district said the people would exit "from a position of strength" out of respect for a Shiite Muslim pilgrimage underway in the capital but would return afterwards to follow up on their demands.

  8. The Turkish military killed 34 Islamic State soldiers in Syria Sunday after launching artillery and drone strikes from the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, the Turkish military said in a statement...

    State-run media in Turkey report the strikes took out several rocket launcher and gun positions.

    The Turkish shelling took place after rockets were fired from Syria at the Turkish city of Kilis along the northern Syria border Sunday. The rocket attack wounded eight

  9. Nairobi building collapse: Child rescued after four days...

    A one-and-a-half-year-old child has been rescued from the debris of a building that collapsed four days ago in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

    The six-storey residence came down in heavy rain, killing at least 22 people.

    Dozens of others are still thought to be buried under the rubble, but hopes of finding more alive are fading.

    The building had been earmarked for demolition. Its owner will appear in court on Tuesday charged with manslaughter....BBC

  10. A day after announcing that Puerto Rico will not pay more than $400 million in Government Development Bank debt that came due over the weekend, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Monday that the island also does not have the money to pay some $2 billion in obligations with a due date of July 1...

    That amount includes some $700 million in what are known as General Obligation bonds, which are guaranteed by Puerto Rico's constitution.

    "It is not expected that we will have the money," and so "we invite (creditors) ... to negotiate in good faith," said Garcia Padilla at a press conference.

    If the United States does not approve some mechanism permitting the island to restructure its debt, Puerto Rico will be left without the ability to pay its guaranteed debt, a situation without precedent in the history of the territory that will surely lead to an endless number of lawsuits from bondholders....EFE

  11. Ce mercredi, la Commission européenne devra rendre une décision importante dans le cadre de l'accord entre l'Union européenne et la Turquie sur les réfugiés...

    Pour rappel, c'est le 18 mars dernier que Bruxelles et Ankara ont signé cet accord qui vise à empêcher les réfugiés de se rendre dans l'Union européenne au départ de la Turquie.

    Dans cet accord, la Turquie s'est engagée à tout faire pour garder les réfugiés sur son sol. En échange, elle a obtenu plusieurs contreparties : des fonds pour soutenir l'accueil des réfugiés sur place, une accélération, toute relative, des négociations d'adhésion et la promesse de voir la suppression des visas pour les Turcs qui souhaiteraient se rendre dans l'Union. Cette promesse date en fait de 2013, ce n'est pas nouveau donc, et la Turquie n'est pas le premier pays qui profiterait de cette exemption. Mais ce n'est pas le dossier le plus facile.

    72 critères imposés par l'Union européenne

    La suppression des visas, cela signifie évidemment que les Turcs pourraient se rendre en Europe sans le précieux sésame. Mais ça ne veut pas dire qu'il n'y aura plus aucun contrôle. Les visas seraient supprimés pour les courts séjours, trois mois maximum, des séjours touristiques, ou pour des raisons familiales ou professionnelles. Et pour que cette libéralisation puisse s'appliquer, il faut que la Turquie remplisse 72 critères imposés par l'Union europé

  12. Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants armed with rocket launchers and rifles attacked a military outpost in southeast Turkey, triggering a clash in which two Turkish soldiers and five PKK fighters were killed, the military said on Tuesday...

    The attack was launched in the Semdinli district of Hakkari province, which borders Iraq and Iran, at 5:35 pm (1435 GMT) on Monday, the armed forces statement said.

    Thousands of militants and hundreds of security force members and civilians have been killed since the conflict between the PKK and the state resumed last July after a 2-1/2-year ceasefire.

    The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey and its Western allies, began its insurgency in 1984 and more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

  13. Several people have been killed and many more injured in a rebel rocket attack on a hospital in the city of Aleppo, according to Syrian state media...

    The attack on Tuesday adds to a toll of more than 250 people killed in less than two weeks of fighting in the northern city.

    "[Dozens] martyred and wounded in rockets fired by terrorists at al-Dabit Hospital," a news flash carried on state TV said.

    Syria's Ikhbariya news said three women had been killed and 17 injured inside the hospital.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the attack, adding that the hospital had been heavily damaged.

    Several hospitals and clinics have previously been hit by deadly air strikes on rebel-held areas of the city.

    The latest attack comes as diplomatic pressure is growing for Aleppo to be included in a ceasefire.

  14. ISIS may be making chemical weapons, warns watchdog...

    There are "extremely worrying" signs that the Islamic State group may be making its own chemical weapons and may have used them already in Iraq and Syria, a global watchdog said Tuesday.

    The head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Ahmet Uzumcu, said his body's fact-finding teams have found evidence of the use of sulphur mustard in attacks in the two countries.

    "Although they could not attribute this to Daesh... there are strong suspicions that they may have used it (chemical weapons)," Uzumcu told AFP, using the alternative name for the jihadist group.

    "Secondly the suspicions are that they may have produced it themselves, which is extremely worrying," Uzumcu said on the sidelines of a three-day conference at the OPCW's Hague-based

  15. Russia will set up two new divisions in its Western Military District and one division in its Southern Military District to counteract NATO buildup near its borders, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday...

    "The Defense Ministry is taking a number of measures to counteract the buildup of NATO forces in the close vicinity of Russian borders. Two new divisions will be set up in the Western Military District and one division in the Southern Military District until the end of the year," Shoigu said at a conference call.

    Work is already under way to create necessary infrastructure at the places of the new divisions’ deployment, the defense minister said......More:

  16. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are unlikely to launch ground operations in Syria in the light of Russian air forces already stationed in the country, RIA news agency cited Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on May 4...

    Speaking about the crisis in Syria, Lavrov said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is not an ally for Russia to the extent Turkey is for the United States.

    “Assad is not an ally for us. Yes, we support him in the fight against terror and in preserving the Syrian state,” he told RIA in an interview.

    “But he is not an ally in the sense Turkey is an ally for the United States.”

    Lavrov said Russia sees Syria peace talks in Geneva resuming this month but the right conditions had not yet been met for direct negotiations due to the “whims” of the opposition High Negotiations Committee and other countries including Turkey.

    Lavrov also said a meeting of the International Syria Support Group could be convened in the coming weeks.

  17. NATO's new supreme allied commander, U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, said Wednesday the alliance should consider what weaponry it could provide so Ukraine can better combat a pro-Moscow insurgency...

    "I do believe that we should support the Ukrainians with what they need to successfully defend their territory and their sovereignty,'' Scaparrotti said.

    The four-star general made the remarks to reporters about an hour after taking over as military leader responsible for the overall direction and conduct of global military operations at the 28-nation NATO alliance.....AP

  18. The UN's envoy for Syria on Wednesday made a plea for a halt in fighting in the second city of Aleppo, warning that failure to do so could lead to a "catastrophic" outcome...

    "The alternative is truly quite catastrophic, because we could see 400,000 people moving towards the Turkish border," Staffan de Mistura said after talks in Berlin with France and Germany's foreign ministers.

  19. Turkey is not expected to hold a snap election after the ruling AK Party elects a new leader and will continue "securely" until the current government's mandate expires in 2019, presidential adviser Cemil Ertem said on Thursday...

    Turkey and its economy will stabilise further when a prime minister more closely aligned with President Tayyip Erdogan takes office, Ertem said in a live interview with broadcaster NTV.

    The current economy management will stay in place, he said, adding he does not expect any changes in monetary and fiscal policies. Declines in Turkish assets, especially the lira, amid worries about political turmoil will not continue and the lira may even become overvalued, undermining exports, he said.

  20. Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says he will stand down at an extraordinary congress of his ruling AK Party later this month...

    Mr Davutoglu is believed to have fallen from favour having disapproved of Mr Erdogan's plans to move Turkey to a presidential system of government.

    But in a speech, Mr Davutoglu pledged his loyalty to President Erdogan, saying he bore no anger to anyone.

    His successor will be chosen when the congress meets on 22 May....BBC

  21. The Israeli military launched airstrikes early Thursday on four Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in response to mortar rounds fired at Israel, the military said...

    In a statement, the military said it hit "terrorist infrastructure sites" early Thursday belonging to Hamas, the Islamic militant group which rules Gaza. The Gaza Health Ministry said three children and a 65-year-old Palestinian suffered light-to-moderate injuries in an airstrike that hit a metal workshop in Gaza City.

    Workshop owner Hassan Hassanin said his well-digging truck, which he said was only one in Gaza that can reach a depth of 37 meters, was hit.

    "Why this was bombed? I don't know why. I don't pose any threat to Israel's security. Israel itself knows this machine, what does it do and what its capabilities are. It doesn't pose any danger to security," he said.

    Palestinian media said an Islamic Jihad militant group outpost was also targeted....AP

  22. Saudi Arabia on Thursday put to death a Jordanian convicted of drug trafficking, in the kingdom's 91st execution this year...

    Maher al-Ghurabli had been found guilty of smuggling amphetamine pills into the kingdom, the interior ministry said in a statement.

    Authorities carried out the sentence against him in the northwestern region of Tabuk, which borders his Jordanian homeland.

    Most people put to death in Saudi Arabia are beheaded with a sword....AFP

  23. Prime Minister David Cameron warned Monday that a British exit from the EU would threaten peace on the continent, as the campaign for next month's crucial referendum got into full swing after regional elections...

    "Isolationism has never served this country well," he said in a speech at the British Museum in London.

    "We've always had to go back in, and always at a much higher cost."

    Cameron said that while Europe had largely been at peace since the end of World War II, it was barely two decades since the Bosnian war, while the continent was facing a "newly belligerent Russia".

    "The serried rows of white headstones in lovingly-tended Commonwealth war cemeteries stand as silent testament to the price this country has paid to help restore peace and order in Europe," he said.

    "Can we be so sure that peace and stability on our continent are assured beyond any shadow of doubt?

    "Is that a risk worth taking?

    "I would never be so rash as to make that assumption."

    Cameron, who wants Britain to stay in a reformed European Union, called a referendum on the UK's membership of the bloc to be held on June 23.

    The Remain and Leave camps are neck-and-neck on 50 percent each, according to the What UK Thinks website's average of the last six opinion

  24. Iran successfully tested a precision-guided medium-range ballistic missile two weeks ago, a military official said on Monday, as Tehran continues to bolster what it insists is a purely defensive arsenal...

    The Islamic Republic has worked to improve the range and accuracy of its missiles over the past year, which it says will make them a more potent deterrent with conventional warheads against its enemy Israel.

    "We tested a missile with a range of 2,000 kms (1,240 miles) and eight meters error margin two weeks ago. An eight-meter error margin means ... full accuracy," the Tasnim news agency quoted Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi as saying.

    The United States and some European powers have said other recent tests violate a United Nations resolution that prohibits Iran from firing any missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. Iran says the missiles are not designed to carry nuclear warheads, which it does not possess....REUTERS

  25. Euro-Finanzminister beraten zu Griechenland... Schäuble in der Zwickmühle...

    Für Wolfgang Schäuble wird die heutige Sondersitzung der Eurogruppe zu Griechenland eine besondere Herausforderung. "Ja, es wird noch ein paar Diskussionen geben. Das ist mir auch klar", prophezeite der Bundesfinanzminister im vergangenen Monat während der Frühjahrstagung des Internationalen Währungsfonds (IWF). Gemeint waren Diskussionen über die gegensätzlichen Positionen des IWF und der Bundesregierung zum Thema Schuldenerlass für Griechenland.

    Griechenland müsse grundlegend reformiert werden, um auf einer soliden Grundlage zu stehen. Aber gleichzeitig müsse Griechenland gestärkt werden, um zukunftsfähig zu sein, fordert IWF-Chefin Christine Lagarde. In einem Brief an die 19 Finanzminister der Eurozone machte Lagarde in der vergangenen Woche noch einmal klar, dass Griechenland ohne eine Schuldenreduzierung durch die Europäer keine nachhaltige Erfolgschance hat. Die Frage der Schuldenrestrukturierung und der Griechenland-Finanzierung müssten jetzt gleichzeitig diskutiert werden, fordert die

  26. The impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was thrown into confusion Monday when the speaker of the lower house of Congress annulled an April vote by lawmakers to launch the process...

    Waldir Maranhao, the interim speaker of the lower house, wrote in an order seen by AFP that a new vote should take place on whether to impeach Rousseff.

    The surprise move came just as the Senate was preparing to vote this week on whether to suspend Rousseff from office while an impeachment trial gets underway.

    Maranhao's order said that legislators should hold a new vote in five sessions time.

    However it was not immediately clear how the chaotic new developments would unfold.

    The Senate was due to start its own voting process on Wednesday, with a majority expected to vote for Rousseff to be suspended. It was not clear whether Maranhao's order would stand or would be challenged, possibly in the Supreme Court.

    In her first reaction, Rousseff interrupted a speech to supporters to say that she'd just got unconfirmed news of her impeachment hitting a roadblock.

    "I don't know the consequences. Please be cautious," she said, calling on her backers to "defend democracy."

    The lower house voted in mid-April by an overwhelming majority to send Rousseff's case to the Senate for trial. She is accused of illegally manipulating government budget accounts during her 2014 reelection battle but says that the process has been twisted into a coup d'etat.

  27. A US-led coalition air strike has killed a senior Islamic State leader in Iraq's Anbar province, along with three other IS jihadists, the Pentagon said Monday...

    Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the May 6 strike near the town of Rutba -- deep in the Anbar desert -- targeted Abu Wahib, IS's "military emir" for the vast western

  28. Barack Obama is to visit Hiroshima this month - the first serving US president to travel to the Japanese city since it was hit by a US nuclear bomb in 1945...

    The visit will be part of an Asian trip from 21-28 May that will also take in Vietnam.

    The Hiroshima bombing on 6 August 1945 killed 140,000 people. Along with a second bombing on Nagasaki - it is credited with ending World War Two.

    The White House said there would be no apology for the bombings.

    A statement from Mr Obama's press secretary read: "The President will make an historic visit to Hiroshima with Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe to highlight his continued commitment to pursuing peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons."

    In ruling out any apology, the president's communications adviser, Ben Rhodes, said on his Twitter page that the US would be "eternally proud of our civilian leaders and the men and women of our armed forces who served in World War II"....BBC

  29. Saudi FM: 'Assad will be removed'...

    Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman in an exclusive interview that Syria's President Bashar al-Assad "will be removed, either through a political process or through military force".

    In the interview with FRANCE 24 focusing on the Syrian crisis, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister also asserted that the ceasefire was holding fairly well in Syria and that humanitarian access had improved in recent days.

    However, Adel al-Jubeir repeated that Bashar al-Assad must leave power.

    “The Syrian crisis will end and it will end without Bashar al-Assad. It will end with a country that is unified, that has a civil society government and that has equality. It could take six months, it could take three months or it could take three years”, he said.

    “The choice is Bashar al-Assad’s. He will be removed, either through a political process or through military force”

  30. A car bomb claimed by Islamic State in a Shi'ite Muslim district of Baghdad killed at least 22 people and wounded more than 60 others on Wednesday, Iraqi police and hospital sources said...

    The SUV packed with explosives went off near a beauty salon in a bustling market at rush hour in Sadr City. Most of the victims were women, the sources said.

    Amaq news agency, which supports Islamic State, said a suicide bomber had targeted Shi'ite militia fighters.

    The ultra-hardline Sunni jihadist group, which considers Shi'ites apostates, claimed a twin suicide bombing in Sadr City in February that killed 70

  31. Russian request to add two Syrian militant groups to a United Nations terror blacklist was rejected by Britain, France, the United States, and Ukraine, diplomats said on May 10...

    Russia had requested that Jaish Al-Islam (Army of Islam) and Ahrar Al-Sham be added to the sanctions list because of their ties to Al-Qaeda and the ISIL groups that already have been blacklisted.

    Adding names to the UN sanctions list requires a consensus decision by the 15-member UN Security Council, however, and objections were raised by the United States and three other current council members.

    A spokesperson for the US mission to the UN told AFP that the designation would have had "damaging consequences" for the cessation of hostilities that the United States and Russia are trying to piece together in Syria, since Jaish Al-Islam had agreed to participate in the cease-fire.

    "Now is not the time to shift course, but rather double-down on our efforts toward a reduction in violence," the U.S. spokesperson said.

    A Security Council diplomat told AFP that blacklisting the two groups would be "seriously counterproductive, damaging both efforts to maintain the cessation of hostilities and resume peace negotiations in Geneva."

    He argued that isolating the groups from the mainstream opposition would result in a more hard-line stance and drive them away from the search for a political settlement of Syria's five-year civil war.

    Jaish Al-Islam is a member of the coalition of opposition groups known as the Higher Negotiations Committee that is participating in Syrian peace negotiations in Geneva.....AFP

  32. Turkey 'losing hope' for EU visa-free deal...

    The Turkish minister for European Union affairs has told the BBC he is losing hope of getting a deal on visa-free travel for Turks within Europe.

    Volkan Bozkir said changing anti-terror laws in Turkey would be impossible.

    The EU insists that Turkey needs to narrow its definition of terrorism - as well as meet four other key criteria - to qualify for visa-free travel.

    It is part of a larger agreement between the two sides aimed at easing Europe's migration crisis....BBC

  33. Egypt opens Gaza crossing for two days after 85-day closure...

    Egypt on Wednesday opened its border with Gaza for 48 after 85 days of closure meant to prevent smuggling and the movement of Islamists in the Sinai Peninsula, Reuters reports.

    Egypt's government headed by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has for the most part kept the Rafah crossing shut since 2013, when the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi was ousted as the nation's leader.

    Hamas, the hard-line Islamist group that rules Gaza, has denied Egyptian claims that it assists Islamist insurgents in the Sinai, who frequently target Egyptian security personnel and tourist targets.

    About 30,000 Gazans are on a waiting list to travel through the crossing, according to Reuters, while only a few thousands who meet certain requirement were likely to make it through during this 48-hour

  34. Dilma Rousseff: une majorité de sénateurs va voter pour l'écarter ...

    Une majorité de sénateurs du Brésil ont annoncé qu'ils voteraient pour l'ouverture du procès en destitution de la présidente Dilma Rousseff et donc sa mise à l'écart du pouvoir pendant un maximum de 180 jours, dans la nuit de mercredi à jeudi. Le vote officiel doit avoir lieu dans les prochaines heures.

    A 03H15 locales (08H15 en Belgique), 41 sénateurs sur un total de 81 s'étaient prononcés en faveur de la suspension du mandat de Mme Rousseff, accusée de maquillage des comptes publics.

    Le vote officiel aura lieu dans les prochaines heures. Si le vote confirme cette tendance, le vice-président Michel Temer assumera les fonctions de président par intérim, en attendant le jugement final de Mme Rousseff par le Sénat.

    M. Temer, ancien allié de la présidente, est devenu son adversaire lorsque sa formation, le grand parti centriste du PMDB, a quitté fin mars la coalition gouvernementale dominée par le Parti des travailleurs (PT, gauche) au pouvoir depuis 13 ans, sous les présidences de Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva (2003-2010) puis de Mme Rousseff (depuis 2010)

  35. Turkey Recalls Bangladesh Ambassador after Islamic Leader Hanged...

    Turkey on Thursday recalled its ambassador to Bangladesh for consultations after strongly protesting the execution in the country of a top Islamist leader, the state-run Anatolia news agency said....AFP

  36. Kurdish forces shot down Turkish military helicopter killing 8 soldiers...

    Eight high ranking Turkish military personnel killed after Kurdish rebels shot down a helicopter near the Turkey’s border with Iraq, Turkey’s military said Friday.

    Clashes broke out with rebels of Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, near the town of Cukurca, in Kurdish Hakkari province, early on Friday, killing six soldiers, a military statement said. Eight other soldiers were wounded.

    A military helicopter sent to the area to support the soldiers later was downed by Kurdish forces, killing its two pilots. Turkish military claimed that helicopter crashed near Cukurca district, however, Kurdish forces said that they shot down Turkish helicopter.

    Fighting between the PKK and the government forces picked up again in July when a more than two-year old peace process collapsed. Around 400 security force members have died since then, according to Associated Press.

  37. At least 16 senior members of the al-Nusra Front armed group have been killed in an air strike in Syria, reports said....

    The strike hit a meeting the group was holding at the Abu al-Duhur airbase in the northwest of the country on Friday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

    One of the dead was a foreign commander, the monitor said....AFP

  38. Amnesty International: Armed groups’ crimes in al-Sheikh Maqsoud may amount to war crimes, chemical weapons may have been used...

    Amnesty International described the repeated random attacks on al-Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppo city by the armed groups as a flagrant violation of the human life and may amount to war crimes.

    Armed groups surrounding al-Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppo city have repeatedly carried out indiscriminate attacks that have struck civilian homes, streets, markets and mosques, killing and injuring civilians and displaying a shameful disregard for human life that may amount to a war crime, Amnesty said.

    It added that chemical weapons may have been used by the armed groups in their attacks.....

  39. At least 12 people were killed and 15 others wounded after gunmen attacked a popular cafe in a town north of Baghdad, Iraqi officials said Friday...

    Officials said three gunmen attacked the coffee shop in the mainly Shi'ite town of Balad, shooting into the crowd shortly after midnight Thursday. Once police arrived at the scene, two of the attackers detonated suicide vests.

    Balad, about 80 kilometers north of Baghdad, is under heavy security. The attackers would have had to pass through three police checkpoints before reaching their target, police sources told Reuters.

    The officers spoke on the condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the

  40. Argentina's Kirchner charged with fraud, assets frozen...

    Assets belonging to former Argentine president Cristina Kirchner were frozen after she was charged with damaging national finances by manipulating the Central Bank's exchange operations during her last months in office.

    Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio said it was "evident that the then president gave instructions -- which without a doubt were developed jointly -- to her economy minister to carry out the financial operation," according to a statement released on the Supreme Court's website.

    Bonadio ordered 15 million pesos' worth ($1 million) of Kirchner's assets to be

  41. Venezuela president declares 60-day state of emergency, blaming US for instability ...

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declared a 60-day state of emergency on Friday due to what he called plots from within the OPEC country and from the US to topple his leftist government.

    Maduro did not provide details of the measure. A previous state of emergency, implemented in states near the Colombian border last year, suspended constitutional guarantees in those areas, except for guarantees relating to human rights.

    Earlier on Friday, US intelligence officials told reporters they were increasingly worried about the potential for an economic and political meltdown in Venezuela and predicted Maduro was not likely to complete his term.

    Venezuela’s opposition is seeking to recall the unpopular leader, 53, amid a worsening crisis that includes food and medicine shortages, frequent power cuts, sporadic looting and galloping

  42. ISIS declares 'state of emergency' as it moves to defend Raqqa stronghold: report...

    The US military is monitoring reports that the Islamic State group have declared a state of emergency in its de-facto capital of Raqqa in Syria, the Independent reported Saturday.

    US military officials leading a coalition against the Islamic State group are closely monitoring social media and news reports that suggest the group may have come under siege in the self-declared capital of its so-called caliphate.

    "We have seen this declaration of emergency in Raqqa, whatever that means," spokesman for the US-led coalition Col. Steve Warren told CNN Friday.

    "We know this enemy feels threatened, as they should," he

  43. Le groupe Etat islamique (EI) s'est emparé samedi d'un hôpital tenu par le gouvernement à Deir Ezzor, dans l'est de la Syrie, tuant 20 membres des forces pro-régime et prenant en otage l'équipe médicale de l'établissement...

    "L'EI a attaqué l'hôpital al-Assad, situé à l'entrée ouest de la ville, tuant au moins 20 soldats et miliciens", a indiqué à l'AFP Rami Abdel Rahmane, directeur de l'OSDH, précisant que six djihadistes avaient été tués dans les combats qui ont suivi. "Le groupe s'est emparé de l'hôpital et a pris en otage l'équipe médicale", a indiqué l'Observatoire, précisant que les combats se poursuivaient aux abords de l'établissement entre les deux bords.

    Les soldats et miliciens assuraient la sécurité de l'hôpital au moment de l'attaque, précise M. Abdel Rahmane. L'EI contrôle plus de 60% de Deir Ezzor, chef-lieu de la province pétrolière en majorité aux mains du groupe ultra-radical.

  44. Key Boko Haram Leader Captured in Nigeria ...

    Cameroon says the multinational joint forces fighting Boko Haram have captured five leaders of the radical Islamist group, including Boukar Kaou, traditional ruler of Kumche in Nigeria. Dozens of the terrorists were killed and 60 women and children freed.

    Cameroon's communication minister and government spokesperson Issa Tchiroma says 1,000 troops of the multinational joint task force fighting Boko Haram organized systematic raids between May 10 and 12 on Boko Haram bases in Nigeria's Madawaya forest, some seven kilometers from Cameroon's northern border, killing 58 Boko Haram

  45. China's Cultural Revolution: 50th anniversary unmarked by state media...

    The 50th anniversary of the start of the Cultural Revolution, which plunged China into a decade of chaos, has been met with silence in state media.

    On 16 May 1966 Communist leader Mao Zedong began a campaign to eliminate his rivals. At the same time he called on Chinese youth to "purge" society.

    Years of bloodshed and turmoil ensued, ending with Mao's death in 1976.

    How to handle the era's contentious legacy has remained a challenge to China's Communist rulers to this day.

    On Monday, the main state media outlets made virtually no mention of the anniversary, focusing on coverage of the South China Sea and other domestic issues. No official events were planned by the authorities to mark the 50-year milestone....BBC

  46. Les forces de sécurité turques ont interpellé lundi sept membres présumés du groupe terroriste État islamique (EI) dont un "bourreau" et un "haut responsable" dans le sud-est de la Turquie, ont rapporté plusieurs médias locaux...

    Ces sept personnes, qui étaient récemment entrées en Turquie depuis la Syrie, ont été arrêtées par des unités de la police antiterroriste et des forces spéciales à Elazig, puis placées en garde à vue, a indiqué l'agence de presse progouvernementale Anatolie.

    Parmi les personnes arrêtés se trouve un bourreau présumé de l'EI ayant procédé à des "exécutions" pour le compte de l'organisation en Syrie, selon Anatolie, qui l'identifie par ses initiales, F. S.

    De nombreux documents ont par ailleurs été saisis, a ajouté l'agence.

    Les suspects sont soupçonnés d'avoir organisé plusieurs réunions dans le but de recruter de nouveaux membres pour l'EI, a rapporté de son côté l'agence de presse Dogan, sans autre détail.

  47. Former MI6 head Richard Dearlove has said Europe faces a "populist uprising" if it is unable to show its citizens it can control the migrant crisis...

    He was speaking on the BBC's World on the Move day on migration issues.

    Mr Dearlove also warned against offering visa-free travel to Turkish nationals, describing the move as like storing gasoline near a fire.

    Earlier, UN special envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt warned the humanitarian system for refugees was breaking down.

    She spoke of a "fear of migration" and a "race to the bottom" as countries competed to be the toughest to protect themselves.....

  48. World powers said Monday they supported the lifting of an arms embargo on Libya and were ready to supply weapons to the country's new unity government to help it fight the growing threat posed by the Islamic State group...

    "The Government of National Accord has voiced its intention to submit appropriate arms embargo exemption requests to the UN Libya Sanctions Committee to procure necessary lethal arms and materiel to counter UN-designated terrorist groups and to combat (IS) throughout the country. We will fully support these efforts," read a statement by US Secretary of State John Kerry and 24 other top diplomats after talks in Vienna.

    The conference was co-chaired by Kerry and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni whose country has faced a major influx of migrants from Libya fleeing violence and

  49. Lavrov: Necessity to stem channels of supporting and financing terrorists in Syria...

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that his talks with the US Secretary of State John Kerry touched upon means to stop importing weapons to terrorists in Syria particularly through Turkish borders.

    Lavrov added, in a press conference following his talks with Kerry, we discussed the necessity of stopping channels of supporting and financing terrorists particularly across the Syrian-Turkish border, and we do know that each part of agreements needs to use pressure upon all Syrian opposition groups by members of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), pointing out that the US used influence over those groups and we will see what would happen.

    “We focused on sending an important signal to a specific part of the Syrian opposition which presents final warnings and pre-conditions,” Lavrov said, adding that talks with al-Riyadh opposition and other oppositions on the crisis in Syria would be continued.

    The Russian Foreign Minister pointed out that “our American partners understand the importance of implementing all agreements including to have all representatives of the Syrian opposition in the intra-Syrian dialogue, and we will see how talks would go Tuesday during ISSG meeting,”..........

  50. Presidents Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan reaffirmed on Monday their commitment to a cease-fire and a peaceful solution in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said in a statement...

    Aliyev and Sargsyan met at the OSCE's Vienna headquarters with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and French State Secretary for European Affairs Harlem Desir, representing the three countries that lead the Minsk Group.

  51. 'Extreme fire behaviour' forces thousands from Fort McMurray camps...

    The mandatory evacuation order in the Fort McMurray area has been expanded to include work camps and oil facilities north of the city, affecting about 8,000 people.

    As of Monday night, the mandatory evacuation order first issued two weeks ago now includes "all camps and production refineries north of Fort McMurray and just south of Fort MacKay including Aostra Road are to evacuate immediately."

    The expanded evacuation order includes both the Syncrude Canada and Suncor Canada facilities just north of Fort McMurray.

    Alberta Emergency Management’s Scott Long said Monday evening that about 4,000 workers at larger Syncrude Canada and Suncor Canada mines north of those camps had been asked to leave voluntarily.

    "The urgency that we’re looking at is in regards to the oil and gas infrastructure," Long said.

    "I think we’re fairly confident, fingers crossed, knock on wood, when it comes to Fort McMurray," he said, citing a "buffer" provided by decimated forest that had already burned in recent weeks.

    The fire is currently between 15 and 20 kilometres from the larger Syncrude and Suncor facilities, according to Wildfire Information Officer Chad

  52. Syrie: nouvel effort diplomatique pour sauver les pourparlers sur la paix ...

    Les grandes puissances vont tenter de relancer mardi à Vienne les négociations sur la paix en Syrie qui se sont récemment heurtées, sur le terrain, à des violations de la trêve et au blocage de l'aide humanitaire.

    Le Groupe internationale de soutien à la Syrie (GISS), piloté par les Etats-Unis et la Russie, est convoqué à partir de 09H00 (07h00 GMT) dans la capitale autrichienne.

    Washington va remettre sur la table les trois objectifs fixés pour stopper cette guerre dévastatrice: "consolider la cessation des hostilités (...) garantir un accès humanitaire dans tout le pays et accélérer la transition politique", selon la diplomatie américaine.

    C'est encore et toujours sur ce dernier point que les discussions achoppent. La feuille de route des négociateurs prévoit la mise en place au 1er août d'un organe syrien de transition politique prévu par une résolution de l'ONU, mais cette échéance paraît de plus en plus illusoire à de nombreux observateurs.

    "L'objectif pour août est d'avoir un cadre en place, un cadre convenu, pour une transition politique", a réaffirmé un haut responsable du département d'Etat aux journalistes à Vienne.

    La coalition de l'opposition syrienne s'est montrée, selon lui, plus ouverte sur les modalités de négociation alors que le régime de Damas, tout en soutenant officiellement les pourparlers, ne s'y est pas vraiment engagé. "Le régime est tout simplement absent, et je pense que c'est vraiment la clef de la situation", a dit ce responsable.....AFP

  53. Le Venezuela en "état d'exception", le gouvernement accroît ses pouvoirs sécuritaires...

    Au Venezuela, le pouvoir tend dangereusement vers l’autoritarisme. À la suite de la proclamation de "l'état d'exception", le gouvernement s’est vu étendre, lundi, ses pouvoirs en matière de sécurité, de distribution alimentaire et d'énergie.

    C'est un pas de plus vers l’autoritarisme que le Venezuela a franchi, lundi 16 mai, après la publication du décret prolongeant "l’état d’exception et d’urgence économique", mis en place depuis la mi-janvier par Nicolas Maduro, en raison de "menaces extérieures".

    À travers ce décret le gouvernement étend durant 60 jours ses prérogatives en matière de sécurité et de distribution alimentaire : l'armée et la police ont pour ordre de "garantir la distribution et la commercialisation des aliments et produits de première nécessité".....AFP

  54. Turkish police warn of possible Islamic State attacks: media...

    Turkish police have issued a nationwide warning about possible Islamic State attacks on Thursday's national holiday, state media said, with military facilities seen as targets after the army stepped up attacks on the militants in Syria.

    Both Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish militants have staged bomb attacks in Turkey in recent months, fuelling concern about the spillover of conflict from its southern neighbor.

    Turkish and U.S.-led coalition forces have killed dozens of IS fighters in shelling and air strikes in northern Syria after months of rocket fire from IS-controlled territory targeted a Turkish border town, killing 21 people.

    The police warning, issued to all 81 provincial police forces, said Islamic State "viewed Turkish soldiers and police as infidels and fighting and killing them as permissible", state-run Anadolu Agency reported....REUTERS

  55. Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad did not abide with efforts to establish a truce across Syria country, alternatives would need to be looked at...

    “We believe we should have moved to a ‘Plan B’ a long time ago,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters after a meeting of foreign governments in Vienna.

    “The choice about moving to an alternative plan, the choice about intensifying the military support (to the opposition) is entirely with the Bashar regime. If they do not respond to the treaties of the international community...then we will have to see what else can be done.”.......

  56. The US Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill that would permit US courts to take action against the Saudi leadership and hold them legally liable for any role in the 9/11 attacks, the New York Times reported...

    The bill will now be brought to the White House where the Obama administration has threatened to veto the legislation.

    Saudi Arabia has warned that it would be forced to sell off hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of American assets before the proposed legislation would put them in danger of being frozen by US courts, although economists say that the move would be difficult to execute and would cripple the kingdom's economy.

    If adopted, this law would allow families of victims of 11 September 2001 to seek compensation from the Saudi government. The suspected involvement of Saudi Arabia in the attacks was never proven but 15 of the 19 plane hijackers were Saudi

  57. French roads blocked over labour law...

    Truckers are blocking highways around France to protest longer working hours in a new labour bill, but President Francois Hollande says he won't abandon the contested reform.

    France is facing a week of new strikes and other union action against the bill, which has met fierce resistance in Parliament and in the streets.

    Truck drivers joined in the protests Tuesday, blocking roads around Marseille and the western cities of Nantes and Le Mans. They fear a drop in income because the bill cuts overtime pay.....AP

  58. Iran has told Hezbollah's military arm to stop attacking Israel and instead turn its sights to Saudi Arabia, according to a report in Middle East Eye...

    The instructions come amid the aftermath of the killing of Hezbollah military commander in Syria Mustafa Badreddine, which the Lebanese Shi'ite grouped blamed on hardline "takfiri" forces backed by Saudi Arabia.

    Citing "well informed sources in Lebanon," MEE says that Qasim Suleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, personally gave the order to Hezbollah in Beirut.

    The report also states that Suleimani announced that Badreddine would be replaced by Fuad Shukr, a 55-year-old member of Hezbollah's founding group and resident of the Bekaa Valley. This contradicts a previous report in Saudi-linked paper Asharq al-Awsat, which had named Mustafa Mughniyeh, Badreddine's nephew, as his

  59. Rescuers in Sri Lanka are searching for scores of people missing after massive landslides following days of rain...

    The Red Cross says more than 200 families are feared buried in the mudslides that hit three villages in central Kegalle district.

    At least 13 bodies have been recovered so far. Another three bodies were found elsewhere in the district.

    Disaster officials say about 150 people have been rescued but more than 60 houses have been buried by mud.

    At least 32 people have been killed in flooding during three days of torrential rain in Sri Lanka, according to official figures.

    Nearly 350,000 people have been displaced by the flooding.

    The huge landslide happened above the villages of Siripura, Pallebage and Elagipitya late on Tuesday afternoon.

    Images show a vast stretch of hillside which has sheared off, sending mud, rocks and trees crashing down.

    "We have deployed more than 300 officers for rescue operations... they have been able to rescue around 150 people last night. They recovered 13 dead bodies this morning," military spokesman Brig Jayanath Jayaweera told the BBC....BBC

  60. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday here expressed his condolences to the countries affected by the crash of the Egyptair passenger jet en route from Paris to Cairo and asked people "not to speculate" on the reasons for the crash...

    Kerry said he was not going to speculate on why the plane went down, adding that "the United States is providing assistance in the search effort and relevant authorities are doing everything they can to try to determine what the facts are of what happened."

  61. Israel defence minister quits as PM mulls replacing him with far-rightist...

    Israel's Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon announced his resignation on Friday, citing poor faith in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after Netanyahu proposed replacing him as part of a move to expand the coalition government.

    Political sources say Netanyahu offered ultra-nationalist politician Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday the defence portfolio, a post crucial for a country on a perennial war footing and which also runs civil affairs in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians struggling for statehood live in friction with Jewish settlers.

    "I informed the PM that after his conduct and recent developments, and given the lack of faith in him, I am resigning from the government and parliament and taking a break from political life," Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Twitter.

    Yaalon's exit could put a new dent in domestic and Western confidence in the Netanyahu government.....REUTERS

  62. Russia’s Economic Development Minister Aleksey Ulyukayev does not rule out extension of anti-Russia sanctions by the European Union and the countersanctions by the Russian Federation...

    "Of course I do not rule out that they will be extended. More than that, I think the chances are slim that the European colleagues will have the required degree of rationality and responsibility though they exist. Probably we’ll be living in this environment for some more time, and as long as sanctions remain countersanctions will remain as well," he said at the Russia-ASEAN summit on Friday.

    According to the minister, the country has fully adjusted to western sanctions.

    "I think that (Russia - TASS) has fully adjusted," he said.

    "Honestly speaking I see no macroeconomic implications at all at the moment," he added.

  63. La coalition antidjihadistes commandée par les Etats-Unis a largué des tracts demandant pour la première fois aux habitants de Raqa de quitter ce fief du groupe Etat islamique (EI) en Syrie, ont indiqué vendredi un militant et une ONG....

    "Ce n'est pas la première fois que les avions de la coalition larguent des tracts sur Raqa mais c'est la première fois qu'ils s'adressent aux résidents pour leur demander de partir", a indiqué Abou Mohammad, un fondateur du groupe "Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently" ("Raqa est massacrée en silence"). Selon lui, ces documents s'adressent généralement aux djihadistes pour leur dire que "leur fin est proche".

    Le groupe d'Abou Mohammad a publié sur ses comptes Facebook et Twitter une image présenté comme le tract en question.

    "Le moment que vous attendiez est arrivé, l'heure est venue de quitter Raqa", est-il écrit sur l'image qui montre des habitants, trois hommes avec un sac à dos, une femme voilé et un enfant, fuyant la ville délabrée -dessinée en noir et blanc- vers une campagne verdoyante, en laissant derrière eux des jihadistes morts.

    L'EI "se mêle aux civils et les utilise comme boucliers humains", explique Abou Mohammad pour justifier le prospectus. "Depuis le début de la campagne de bombardement de la coalition, ses combattants ont commencé à se cacher au milieu des civils".

    408 civils tués par des frappes aériennes de la coalition

    Les groupes djihadistes comme l'EI sont exclus de la trêve des combats décrétée en Syrie fin février afin de favoriser des pourparlers entre le régime de Damas et les rebelles pour mettre fin à un conflit complexe qui dure depuis cinq ans et a fait plus de 270 000

  64. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the Alliance does not want new cold war with Russia...

    “We have long observed, as Russia is investing intensively in the armed forces,” — said Stoltenberg. According to him, NATO is only responsible for these actions and strengthens the defense, as well as avoiding escalation and maintains an open dialogue.

    At the same time, he noted that currently the Alliance does not see an immediate threat from Moscow.

    Stoltenberg also announced that a decision on military presence of NATO on the Eastern flank will be taken at the NATO summit in Warsaw in early July.

    Earlier, Russia’s permanent representative to NATO Alexander Grushko said that in recent years in some countries of the Alliance are increasingly talking about the need to resume political dialogue with Russia. According to the diplomat, many Europeans realized the futility of attempts to isolate Russia.

  65. Five killed as cyclone Roanu starts to batter Bangladesh...

    A cyclone battered the coast of Bangladesh on Saturday killing at least five people after lashing India's east coast with heavy rain and wind.

    Authorities in low-lying Bangladesh have relocated about 500,000 people into 3,500 shelters, the disaster minister said, even as Cyclone Roanu killed three people in house collapses and two in landslides.

    "We've shifted most of the people who are vulnerable," Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya told a news conference.

    "All-out preparations are in place to tackle the damage".

    Officials suspended flights at Chittagong airport in the southeast while the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority imposed restrictions on the movement of all ships and ferries.....REUTERS

  66. Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was targeted by US drone strikes because he posed an "threat" to US troops, Afghan civilians and peace talks, Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday on a visit to Myanmar...

    The US said Saturday's strikes hit a vehicle carrying Mansour and a second passenger in Pakistan's remote southwestern province of Balochistan bordering Afghanistan.

    Speaking to reporters in the Myanmar capital Naypyidaw Kerry outlined the reasons for the strikes.

    "Mansour posed... an imminent threat to US personnel, Afghan civilians and Afghan security forces," he told reporters, adding "he was also directly opposed to peace negotiations."

    The US "has long maintained that an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned reconciliation process is the surest way to ensure peace... peace is what we want, Mansour was a threat to that," Kerry added.

    The Taliban have so far not commented on the American strike or confirmed Mansour's death. He had been appointed leader last July.

    The drone attack came just days after US, Chinese, Pakistani and Afghan officials held a fresh round of talks in Islamabad aimed at restarting the stalled peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

  67. Eurozone finance ministers have agreed with Greece and the International Monetary Fund on a deal that will address Athens' requests for debt relief...

    After talks that lasted into the small hours this morning, the Eurogroup ministers gave approval to releasing €10.3bn in new funds for Greece in recognition of painful fiscal reforms pushed through by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's leftist-led coalition, subject to some final technical tweaks.

    But a bigger step forward was a deal by which the euro zone agreed to offer Athens debt relief in 2018 if that is necessary to meet agreed criteria on its payments burden.

    That was enough to secure an agreement from the International Monetary Fund to again join the euro zone in funding the bailout of Greece.

    "We achieved a major breakthrough on Greece which enables us to enter a new phase in the Greek financial assistance programme," Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, told a news conference. "This is stretching what I thought would have been possible not so long ago."

    Acknowledging the "political capital" European ministers invested to reach the deal - a nod to strong German objections to debt relief - Mr Dijsselbloem called it a "new phase" in a six-year drama to stabilise Greece's finances that has taken the 16-year-old euro zone to the brink of

  68. 3000 migrants sauvés au large de la Libye selon les gardes-côtes italiens ...

    3000 migrants ont été secourus au large de La Libye mardi, ont déclaré les gardes-côtes italiens, ce qui porte à 5600 le nombre de migrants sauvés au cours des dernières 48 heures.

    En comptant ces derniers sauvetages, effectués grâce à 23 opérations différentes, 37 000 personnes sont arrivées dans les ports du sud de l'Italie depuis le début de l'année.

    Les gardes-côtes, des navires de l'opération européenne Sophia et de l'agence frontalière Frontex, un navire de l'ONG SOS Méditerranée et deux remorqueurs d'une plate-forme pétrolière voisine ont participé à ces opérations de sauvetage.

    Tous les moyens de secourisme de la zone ont été déployés, selon les gardes-côtes.

    Aucune indication sur les nationalités des migrants secourus n'était encore disponible mardi soir. Depuis le début de l'année, la majorité des arrivants en Italie viennent d'Afrique subsaharienne. Les autorités affirment en effet que les réfugiés du Moyen-Orient ne semblent pas encore dévier par la route libyenne pour entrer en Europe malgré les restrictions instaurées sur les îles grecques.

    "Les arrivées en 2016 sont a peu près équivalentes à celles de 2015", a déclaré dans un tweet Flavio di Giacomo, porte-parole en Italie de l'Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), avant le dernier bilan des gardes-côtes.

  69. Calm near Syrian capital as fighting freezes...

    Two key opposition-controlled areas near Syria’s capital were relatively calm on Tuesday after appeals by Russia for a temporary freeze in fighting there, a monitor and an activist told AFP.

    Fierce fighting had been rocking the besieged opposition-held town of Daraya, southwest of Damascus, and in Eastern Ghouta, a large rebel bastion east of the capital.

    But clashes subsided in both by Tuesday morning, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

    “It has been quiet in both areas since dawn,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

    Daraya-based activist Shadi Matar confirmed that the shelling and clashes that had shaken his hometown over the past two weeks had stopped.

    “There was fighting around midnight but it stopped around 1:00 am on Tuesday and it’s been calm since then,” he told AFP.

    But he said fellow residents were skeptical that the quiet would

  70. After fuel blockade, French unions threaten nuclear plant walkouts over labour reform...

    Police broke up a fuel depot blockade in France on Wednesday and France’s hardline CGT union prepared for a strike at a nuclear plant, escalating a standoff over proposed new labour laws.

    France has also mobilised its emergency motor fuel stocks for the first time since 2010, a spokeswoman for oil lobby group UFIP said.

    Ministers went on radio morning shows to say the government would stand firm, while CGT chief Philippe Martinez told RTL radio that his union, one of the most powerful in France, would press on with its strikes.....REUTERS

  71. Les forces antijihadistes avancent en Syrie et en Irak...

    Les forces soutenues par les Etats-Unis en Irak et en Syrie ont avancé jeudi dans leurs offensives contre le groupe jihadiste Etat islamique (EI), les analystes prévenant toutefois que la bataille pourrait être longue.

    Dans la Syrie ravagée par la guerre depuis cinq ans, l'envoyé spécial de l'ONU Staffan de Mistura a averti que de nombreux civils pris au piège des combats "risquent de mourir de faim" si l'aide humanitaire ne leur parvenait pas rapidement dans plusieurs localités.

    Outre le drame des civils assiégés par les différents belligérants, plus de 280.000 personnes sont mortes dans le conflit en Syrie selon un dernier bilan de l'Observatoire syrien des droits de l'Homme (OSDH), alors que des millions ont été poussées à la fuite.

    Dans cette guerre aux multiples fronts, le combat semble se concentrer contre l'EI dans la province de Raqa (nord-est) où se poursuit une offensive lancée mardi par une alliance de forces arabo-kurdes avec l'appui des frappes de la coalition internationale dirigée par les

  72. Up to 30 people are feared dead after a shipwreck off Libya, while some 50 migrants have been rescued from the waves, the EU's naval force said Thursday...

    "We estimate the dead to be between 20 and 30 people," captain Antonello de Renzis Sonnino, spokesman for the EU's Sophia military operation to combat people smugglers in the Mediterranean, told AFP.

    "A Luxembourg reconnaissance plane spotted a capsized boat around 35 nautical miles off the Libyan coast with about 100 migrants in the water or clinging to the sinking vessel," he said.....AFP

  73. Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said Thursday that it is "certain" that the National Liberation Army, or ELN, guerrillas are holding Spanish journalist Salud Hernandez and her Colombian colleagues Diego D'Pablos and Carlos Melo, who disappeared a few days ago in the northeastern region of Catatumbo...

    "I can communicate this afternoon that, on the basis of intelligence information gathered ... up until just a few hours ago, it can be confirmed with certainty that the ELN is responsible for the disappearances of the three (journalists)," said Villegas at a Bogota press conference.

    The minister emphasized the case of Hernandez, a correspondent for Spain's El Mundo newspaper and columnist for the Colombian daily El Tiempo, who was last seen on Saturday in El Tarra, a city in the Catatumbo region.

    Her last message to her work colleagues at the latter paper said that she would be "incommunicado for several hours in that region carrying out (her) duties as a reporter," Villegas said.

    D'Pablos and Melo disappeared two days later in the same region in Norte de Santander province as they were covering the case of their missing Spanish colleague, who - according to the government - voluntarily met with the ELN to do a story on the rebels.

  74. Barack Obama will become the first U.S. president Friday to visit Hiroshima, the city where an American warplane dropped the world's first atomic bomb on August 6, 1945 during World War II...

    The president has said he will not apologize for the decision then president Harry Truman made to drop the A-bomb on Hiroshima, killing 80,000 people instantly and wiping out 90 percent of the city. Tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure.

    Obama said recently he knows "as somebody who has now sat in this position for the last seven and a half years, that every leader makes very difficult decisions, particularly during war time."

    The decision to bomb Hiroshima was controversial. Several of Truman's top military advisers, including future president Dwight Eisenhower, objected and favored the conventional bombing already going on in Japan. Truman, however, was seeking a quick end to the war.....VOANEWS

  75. Iraq troops in 'final assault' on Islamic State in Falluja...

    he Iraqi army says it has begun an operation to storm Falluja, a bastion of so-called Islamic State (IS).

    It comes a week after the government launched a concerted effort to retake the city, which has been held by the jihadists since 2014.

    An estimated 50,000 civilians are trapped inside, with only a few hundred families escaping so far.

    As the army pushed on Falluja, a wave of bombings in and around the capital, Baghdad, killed at least 20 people...BBC

  76. UN envoy for Syria tells Security Council peace talks will resume ‘as soon as feasible’ ...

    The United Nations envoy for Syria today told the Security Council that he intends to begin the next round of intra-Syrian talks ‘as soon as feasible, but certainly not within the next two to three weeks,’ the Organization reported today.

    A note for the press, issued by the Office of the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General said that UN Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, briefed the Security Council in closed-door consultations, the first such discussions since the conclusion of the latest round of talks in Geneva and since the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) met in Vienna on 17 May.

    He briefed the 15-member body on his intention to start the next round of the UN-mediated talks as soon as feasible but certainly not within the next two to three weeks. Meanwhile, the note said, Mr. de Mistura will maintain close and continuous contact with the Syrian parties as well as the members of the ISSG before determining the “appropriate time” to reconvene the parties to Geneva.......

  77. Turkey's foreign minister suggested his country could carry out joint military operations with the United States to oust the Islamic State group from Syria...

    Speaking in Antalya late Sunday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that operation could "easily advance to Raqqa," the main IS bastion in Syria.

    American special operations forces and a coalition known as the Syria Democratic Forces have begun clearing areas north of Raqqa in preparation for an eventual assault on the city. A major player in the coalition is the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, which Turkey — unlike the United States — views as a terrorist organization.

    Turkey is part of the U.S.-led coalition against IS and a Turkish air base is being used to launch bombing runs against IS.

    But the involvement of Kurdish factions in the anti-IS effort has strained U.S.-Turkish relations. According to Vatan newspaper's Monday edition, Cavusoglu criticized the U.S. for dealing with the political wing of the YPG and said it would be better off uniting forces with Turkey.

    "Unfortunately the U.S. is entering a phase that is very dangerous for the future of Syria," said Cavusoglu. "We have warned them."....AP

  78. Russia on Tuesday denied its planes had conducted air strikes overnight against the Syrian rebel-held city of Idlib, which the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said had killed 23 people...

    “Russian planes did not carry out any combat missions, to say nothing of any air strikes, in the province of Idlib,” Igor Konashenkov, a Russian Defence Ministry spokesman, said in a statement.

    Earlier, a monitoring group said that Russian warplanes pounded an Al-Qaeda-held city in northwestern Syria before dawn on Tuesday killing 23 civilians in the heaviest strikes in

  79. The US has warned Americans on the possible threat of attacks in Europe this summer...

    The State Department said on Tuesday targets could include tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centres and transportation.

    "We are alerting US citizens to the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe, targeting major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers and transportation," it said in a travel alert expiring August 31.

    "The large number of tourists visiting Europe in the summer months will present greater targets for terrorists planning attacks in public locations, especially at large events."

    1. The US has warned that the Euro 2016 football championship being held in France next month could be a target of militant attacks...

      "The large number of tourists visiting Europe in the summer months will present greater targets for terrorists," the State Department said.

      The event is being hosted from 10 June to 10 July at various venues.

      France is already under a state of emergency following last year's Islamist-claimed attacks in Paris....BBC

  80. Erdogan concerned over German debate on 1915 events...

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with Chancellor Angela Merkel on the phone Tuesday to share Ankara's sensitivities over a German resolution aimed at recognizing the deaths of Armenians in 1915 as "genocide", according to sources from Turkey's Presidency.

    Erdogan stressed the need for showing common sense, and approaching Thursday’s debate in a reasonable manner, said the sources, who were not named according to protocol.

    The two leaders also reportedly stressed the importance of continuing official talks on the EU-Turkey refugee readmission agreement and visa liberalization, they added.

    The EU-Turkey deal aims to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. The deal also aims for the acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area.

    On Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also spoke with Merkel over the phone, calling on the German government and parliament to show common sense over the resolution, prime ministry sources said......


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